Report: Saab prepares to enter Russia and China

2012 Saab 9-4X

Saab Automobile AB is planning to begin distribution in China some time next year, said CEO Jan Ake Jonsson. “

Until we launch the new 9-3 at the end of 2012, it will be just a couple of thousand units (annually), all based on imports. As we lead up to this, we have to make a decision if and when we are going to introduce local manufacturing in China,” Jonsson said on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Saab’s main priority by the end of this year, is defining the dealer network. The company needs to be present in five or six cities with a total of 10 to 15 dealerships, according to Jonsson. Should Saab reach the point of local production in China, it would begin with the next generation 9-3, with the 9-5 and upcoming 9-4X crossover being imported. Chairman Victor Muller has said that Saab would need to get to a volume of 10,000 cars annually before starting local manufacturing. The U.S. version of the 9-4X goes into production in April, and for non-U.S. markets starting in August.

Refresher: The 2012 Saab 9-4X is available with two V6 powertrain choices, both mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The entry-level engine is a 3.0L engine making 265-hp allowing the 9-4X to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds with front-wheel-drive (8.4 seconds with Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive). The second model is a 2.8L turbo V6 making 300-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Mated standard to XWD, the turbo Saab 9-4X sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. Prices start at $34,205.

2012 Saab 9-4X:

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)